2006-04-07 Mutterberger Seespitze [LWD irol] (1).jpg
2004-02-20 Hochfügen [LWD Tirol] (77).jpg
Rudi Mair ORF 2.jpg
2002-01-05 Mölser Berg (15).jpg
2006-04-07 Mutterberger Seespitze [LWD Tirol].jpg
LWD Tirol - Nairz, Mair (3).jpg
2006-04-07 Mutterberger Seespitze [LWD irol] (1).jpg

Intro


Before You Go

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Intro


Before You Go

These five steps will help you prepare properly for travel in the backcountry. Before you go: get the gear, get the training, get the forecast, get the picture, and know how to get out of harm's way.

2004-02-20 Hochfügen [LWD Tirol] (77).jpg

Get the Gear


Get the Gear

Get the Gear


Get the Gear

 

Carry the essential equipment.

Its up to you. You don’t have time to go for help. All members of your group need to have all the gear. A buried victim has almost an 80% chance of survival at 10 minutes, but the odds of survival quickly drop to around 40% two minutes later.

 
Rudi Mair ORF 2.jpg

Get the Training


Get the Training

Get the Training


Get the Training

 

Learn how avalanches occur, how to choose terrain, how to make decisions, and how to rescue someone buried in an avalanche. 

View a tutorial at fsavalanche.org or find a class at avalanche.org.

 
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Get the Forecast


Get the Forecast

Get the Forecast


Get the Forecast

 

Make a plan based on the current avalanche and weather forecast.

The forecast will tell you the avalanche danger level as well as what kind of avalanches to expect and where they are likely to occur. Be sure to let someone outside of your group know where you're going and when you plan to return.

  • Know the experience level of your group

  • Discuss your plan and speak up if you’re uncomfortable throughout the day

  • Agree to support if someone feels unsafe, uncertain, and wants to change the plan
 
2006-04-07 Mutterberger Seespitze [LWD Tirol].jpg

Get the Picture


Get the Picture

Get the Picture


Get the Picture

 

When you're out on the snow, look around for these warning signs:

  • Recent Avalanches
    STOP and LOOK for recent avalanches. These are major warning signs that slopes with a similar aspect and elevation are also unstable. Recent avalanches are the best indicator of avalanche hazard.
     
  • Cracking or Collapsing
    Seeing shooting cracks or feeling the snowpack collapse and hearing a WHUMPF are certain signs of instability.
     
  • Recent Wind-Drifted Snow
    Wind-blown snow adds weight to the snowpack even faster than heavy snowfall. Wind-blown snow is usually found near ridge lines, cornices, or gullies.
     
  • Recent Deposits/New Snow
    Significant snowfall can make the snowpack unstable. More weight added to the snowpack makes avalanches more likely.
     
  • Evidence of Rapid Thaw
    Rapid warming can make the snowpack unstable, especially when air temperatures are near or above freezing. On warm days, watch for wet snow and small avalanches. These are signs that bigger avalanches are possible.
 
LWD Tirol - Nairz, Mair (3).jpg

Get Out of Harm's Way


Get Out of Harm's Way

Get Out of Harm's Way


Get Out of Harm's Way

 

Ski or ride one at a time on all uncontrolled (backcountry and off-piste) slopes. Maintain situational awareness to help you recognize if you are in or near avalanche terrain. Get out of the way at the bottom.

  • Identify when your group is at risk for an avalanche.
     
  • Avalanche slopes are:
    • Any slope steeper than 30 degrees, including: very small slopes and slopes with trees.
    • Low angle slopes if they have avalanches above or are connected to terrain with steeper slopes — avalanches can be triggered on low angle slopes during HIGH avalanche danger.
       
  • Be aware of:
    • people, roads, and structures below you that could be put at risk if an avalanche is triggered.
    • terrain traps — ravines, gullies, sudden flats, cliffs, and trees.
       
  • Maintain visual and audio contact with your group.